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Harndex: A HarnWorld Reference and Glossary
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/23/2016 07:45:03

Now in its third edition, for the first time Hârndex is available as a stand-alone work. It still fulfills the same purpose, being an alphabetical general reference sourcebook for anyone using the Hârn setting for their game.


Entries fall into several broad categories: geographical, economic, guild, religion, culture and politics. Many are taken from the first (1983) and second (1990) editions of the book (which was relased as one component of the core setting material along with HârnWorld), but it also contains material from the 'Hârnic Dictionary' that was part of the 1994 work HârnPlayer, and more. This is explained in the introduction, along with a note on pronuciation, which it claims is phonetic apart from the letter Y which is treated as a vowel. Being a Welsh-speaker, I expect Y to be a vowel so I guess I have been getting the names correct anyway!


Then it's straight off into the As, with Aaldem Keep coming first. For places, the information includes what kingdom or other region it's in, how many people live there, who is in charge and to whom they owe allegiance, as well as some notes giving flavour to the place. Other entries have similar details as appropriate to their subject, all aimed at presenting Hârn as a living world with which your characters and your plots can interact.


The text is scattered with diagrams, maps, badges and other illustractive material as well, and there is plenty of cross-referencing. Where appropriate, map references (quite general, but it's not too hard to locate places) are also given. For those who like mediaeval manuscripts, there's an added delight in the illuminated letter that heads each section A, B, C... and so on.


Like any such directory, this is a book to dip into, to refer to, rather than one to sit down and read end-to-end. Nevertheless it makes for fascinating reading, and is a good way to have an overview of the entirity of Hârn all in one place for ready reference. Whilst it is billed as a gamemaster resource, a well-educated Hârn native would probably know most or not all of what is here, so you may choose to give your players access.


It's an excellent resource, well worth keeping to hand as you explore and adventure in Hârn!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Harndex: A HarnWorld Reference and Glossary
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HarnWorld Master Module, 3rd Edition
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/22/2016 08:37:16

This is the latest incarnation of possibly the most detailed and comprehensive fantasy setting ever: Hârn. It's a place I've been prowling - or at least my characters have but it's so realistic it's easy to forget that you haven't visited there yourself! - for many a year, even though in one memorable game my bard was kicked out of the city of Thay and told never to return! The Introduction explains the history of this setting from its first appearance in 1983 to the present, and lays out how it is organised. This book is itself an introduction, an overview. In some ways the real meat, the detail that makes the setting so glorious, is to be found in Hârndex and in the component articles of the Encyclopaedia Hârnica - these articles are available as looseleaf punched pages (or PDFs) enabling you to collect just the ones you need. (You'll probably end up wanting all of them, Hârn is addictive!)


It starts with an overview of Hârn itself, a large island, a wild and dangerous land, where pockets of civilization are surrounded by large tracts of wilderness. Those pockets of civilisation are mostly feudal kingdoms, but apart from the squabbling that is inevitable when you have lots of lordlings each with an armed retinue, there are religious quarrels, barbarian hordes, unexplored expanses and much more to keep your characters occupied. Oh, and there are elves, dwarves, orcs and even stranger races to be found there as well. Maps abound - both in the book itself and the large one that accompanies it - and serve to make the place become 'real'. It's hard to remember that it isn't lurking somewhere nearby, just waiting for you to visit.


Overview done, there's a section on Culture, wich consists of sub-sections summarising each of the kingdoms and other groupings to be found on Hârn. Each provides a brief history, notes on government, economy and more, along with the coat of arms (heraldry is big on Hârn - and yes, there's a supplement on it if you want to learn more) and a list of the separate articles that particularly contribute to knowledge of that area. These are followed by sub-sections covering tribes and other races.


Next is a section on Government (although this has been touched on briefly already). Here is a good explanation of what a feudal system actually is, and how such a society is structured. It's to be remembered that in a true feudal system, the lord has just as many obligations as the vassal who owes him service - the rights and obligations operate in both directions. Good lords realise this and take their duty of care and obligations seriously... but some do not, and it can be quite hard to rid yourself of such a tyrant! There are details of what rights and responsibilities are in the monarch's purview, and what constitutes the royal court: offices and responsibilities. Then the discussion passes on to shires and eventually down to manors, the smallest division of land, showing how everything (and everybody) interlink.


Not everyone is settled on the land, however, so the next section looks at Cities. There are eight on Hârn, although most are pretty small. Only about 10% of the population lives in a city, and the largest has about twelve thousand citizens. Again the governance and structure is discussed, with the various offices and customs, how law and order is maintained and so on.


The next section deals with Guilds, with a colourful page showing all the guild badges, and notes on how the guilds operate. If you have a good grasp of mediaeval European history, all of this is familiar territory - and if you don't it makes a good primer, clearly explained. Guilds control virtually all trades (it was a difference of opinion with a guild that got my character kicked out of Thay!) and they wield significant power within urban locales. This section is followed by one on Economics, which includes the coins to be found on Hârn and extensive price lists for just about everything you might want to purchase... and then looks at typical incomes: can you afford what you want to buy? And then there are taxes. And tolls. And guild dues if applicable. There's no escaping those.


The discussion moves on to Trade and then to Religion. Here it gets interesting. The GM needs to decide if the gods are real or not. As far as folk living on Hârn it makes no different, they think they are real anyway. Only the GM knows if anyone's listening to their prayers or if they are deluded. Whatever you decide, there's plenty of detail on the various deities worshipped in Hârn. This section provides organisations and cults to join, as well as doctrines to discuss, and the (real or perceived) differences between the gods which are played out on the mortal realm.


The next section is History. The first inhabitants of Hârn were the Earthmasters, but very little is known about them. Since their day, lost to legend, several waves of people have arrived, with humans but the last, arriving some 2,000 years ago. Since then history consists of wars and power struggles, that have shaped the landscape as it is known today. Empires rose and fell, kingdoms were established... the usual sweep of history, but all told in a vivid manner, you can imagine younglings hearing all this from their tutors.


Now, while Hârn as a setting is independent of ruleset (although you might want to try HârnMaster that was written for it) you might want to tweak characters to suit the setting, so there's a selection of tables to determine where and when characters were born (and even into what race...). This rules-ish section continues with information on things like travel times around Hârn and how the weather works.


If you want an incredibly detailed and realistic setting for your adventures, start here! You'll soon be hooked, and wanting to delve more deeply into the experience that is Hârn.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
HarnWorld Master Module, 3rd Edition
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Geldeheim Castle
by Caleb F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/28/2015 19:21:35

Simply not worth it. While the maps and detail are nice, the quality and quantity in no way justify the price tag. There is nothing in this set that exceeds the value of some of the $10 barn castles. This is a blatant and ridiculously over the top rip off. This is also the last barn product I will purchase until the folks at Columbia get a grip and don't charge double to triple what their product is worth



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Geldeheim Castle
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HarnMaster Magic
by Daniel K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/23/2015 07:15:57

This ain't you typical RPG magic system. The story elements of Harn's Shek-Pvar are absorbed into the game mechanics with little effort. Advancement is based on your mastery level, your imagination in developing new spells, and willingness to part with esoteric items.


I love the collaboration between GM and player to develop new spells. To learn new existing spell depends on your mastery level and potency of the spell.


The price in game mechanics to pay for casting is not arduous but must be taken into account, especially in combat. The more you cast the more it will fatigue you and the great the penalties on all your skills and abilities. The price in storyline and setting cannon is a far higher cost. To be burned at the stake fr witchcraft is a high price indeed.


If you are looking for something to make the player think about the consequences of esoteric power, give HarnMaster and it's magic system a shot.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
HarnMaster Magic
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Patrel: Tribal Gathering Site
by William C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/22/2015 17:42:27

Let me start by saying that I love Harn and especially love Chybisa and all things associated with it's environs.


Patrel: Tribal Gathering Site didn't let me down as a new Hodiri supplement though it did seem to lack one particular detail...


Nicholas Lowson's excellent booklet on Millers which states,


"In 709, Styven of Much, a miller from Chybisa was taken hostage during a raid on a caravan on the Genin Trail. He was bringing a new millstone back from Thay to use in a mill that was being built in Dynain. After destroying the caravan, the Hodiri lined Styven and the few others who had survived up and started to use them as targets. In exchange for his life, Styven pleaded that he could construct a horse-powered mill for the Hodiri. Chuppachak, the Hodiri leader was intrigued, and so Styven and the millstone were taken to Patrel for the annual festival. Styven was given until the end of the festival to build the mill, or he would be roasted alive on the fires of the last night. The mill was built, and the Hodiri were impressed. They hamstrung Styven so that he could not run away, and for the last eleven years he has operated the Patrel mill."


I would have liked to see this information incorporated into the Patrel: Tribal Gathering Site product.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Patrel: Tribal Gathering Site
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Undead (Morvrin)
by Robert B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/19/2015 04:21:54

This article on Morvrin is a must for any GM playing in the western part of Hârn. Although not very long it details the undead underlings and give good insights not mentioned before in the rules. Still there is a lot of room for any GM to expand on this source. Get it to complete your beastiary and to harras your players, these guys and gals are no picnic.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Undead (Morvrin)
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Gardiren Castle
by Noel M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/07/2015 21:47:03

FIRST - be sure you do not purchase Gardiren #10 The Jug Inn, chances are good you read the note long before you read this review. It was frustrating to purchase both together only to discover that it was included in this module; no did not read the description - did not feel I needed to because I was adding this to my collection of Kaldor Kingdom material. Oh well CAVEAT EMPTOR. Of all the products I have purchased over the last 30 years for Role Playing Games Harn/Columbia products are some of the best. Drivethrue RPG has made this wonderful because I can print one sided pages to make notes for my campaigns involving these modules.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Gardiren Castle
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Olokand Castle
by Noel M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/07/2015 21:41:09

Received a lot more than I had hoped for, for a higher fantasy setting the Ona-Setrum would be a great starting place for an extensive Dungeon Crawl. Harn settings are wonderful (as intended) for non-Harn RPGs and this is just another example.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Olokand Castle
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HarnManor
by Noel M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/07/2015 21:36:01

Are you a GM? Do you need to understand better the premise behind Medieval Manors? This will help to paint a very wonderful image and create some realism as well as help you plan out a Manor. Granted it is originally set up for Harn, but the principles and information are useful for a feudal based fantasy gaming system. If you have acquired other Harn products or "Fanon" that has stats for Manors this book will help interpret the information given.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
HarnManor
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Law
by Noel M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/07/2015 21:31:38

Non-Harn RPG is you are looking to make your world a little more medieval without a lot of research this supplement is awesome to help any GM create an experience involving law and custom; great guidelines for more than just a feudal system.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Law
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Tavern Games
by Bradley F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/03/2014 14:18:21

It is really difficult to rate a free document, because honestly if you don't like all you wasted is a bit of your time. Columbia Game's Tavern Games document is, however, pretty good. It details, as far as I can tell, real world games and gives most of them a lore-appropriate name. It is well written and doesn't hurt to download as a small supplement for your players to pass time if you need to set things up.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tavern Games
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Atlas Map J5
by Bradley F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/03/2014 14:03:04

This is the first, but definitely not the last, map I have bought. They are very high quality and very detailed, and you can use the measurement tool in adobe reader to measure the mileage between locales (if you are a sucker for precision, like I am). You can certainly zoom in as much as you like because, if I am not mistaken, it is a vector drawing, like something typically done in Adobe Illustrator. In other words, the boundaries, lines, etc. resize as you zoom in to keep everything crisp and smooth (as opposed to raster or pixel images which get blurry as you zoom).


IN SUMMATION; it's a great map to have and use to plan things out or figure distances on the fly, provided you use a computer or something while you game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Atlas Map J5
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Shiran's Pamesani Arena Map
by Mark S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/29/2014 22:49:56

A free map of a gladiator arena. Anyone can draw (or trace) a circle.


Not everyone can imagine the animal and gladiator cells below and beside the arena.


Five stars for a good game value.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shiran's Pamesani Arena Map
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HarnMaster Magic
by Mattias L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/24/2014 03:11:00

I love the Hârnmaster world setting. The rules aren't the easiest ones but supports the setting fine. Hârnmaster Shek-Pvar (Magic) is a coherent rule system for spells and magic items. A lot of focus is on players designing their own spells and the existing ones serve more as examples than a finished "grimoire". If you like the magic of Tolkien or GRR Martin, you will enjoy this. If you're more a boardgame/class level/d&d player this might not be what you're looking for. Strongly recommended, if not only for the new interesting take on magic and spells.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
HarnMaster Magic
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City of Shiran E14: Bull Ring Tavern
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/21/2014 10:47:16

This nice little write-up describes a tavern in the City of Shiran. As always, it is embedded beautifully into the setting, with little details that bring it to life and a few adventure hooks thrown in.


This is no ordinary tavern. It lurks unmarked in the cellars of a warehouse, but is popular with local working folk and with members of the nobility who have a taste for low-life and blood sports for the Bull Ring boasts a combat arena in which dogs, rats, cocks, badgers and men fight. Fighters can make good money, if they survive victorious, and of course betting on the outcome thrives.


The normal residents of the building sound decidely unpleasant types, indeed the entire tavern is ripe for clearing out by decent and upstanding citizens. If your party, however, has more disreputable tastes they may find it a suitable watering hole and a place to make useful contacts.


There is a page of descriptive material about the tavern and what transpires there, floorplans and room descriptions and four hooks to get the party involved with the place.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
City of Shiran E14: Bull Ring Tavern
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